Sunday, October 9, 2011

back in the cotton club once more

Well, I guess it's about time that I write about how we've been adjusting to life after the PCT.

Most of me wishes October had never come, and that I had unlimited money to hike an unending PCT. I miss most aspects of trail life. I miss waking up in the forest, or in a meadow campsite, or on a ridge. I don't like looking up at the mountains from a car and wondering what road will take me to the trailhead, or what it's like to be in those hills. I remember what it's like to be in the wilderness but so close to society - I remember hearing the cars and wondering if there might, just maybe, be someone there to give us unexpected treats. Now I have those treats - an apple, a cookie, a coke, a chair - so close at hand and they are starting to loose their meaning. Like a friend said when she took a short hiatus from the trail, "I drank a coke and it didn't mean anything!"

I miss the endorphin rush and knowing that my body can do ridiculous amounts of work and only need short breaks and some sleep at night to be able to get up and do it all again. I miss being able to eat anything I want, and feeling obliged to my deprived body to eat as much of it as I can. Not eating too much food hurts.

I miss trail friends. They knew what we were going through. On trail, almost anyone around was a friend. Now, so many faces pass by unrecognized, not knowing me or caring to know me.

Yesterday we hiked Eagle Creek, the alternate route that on a normal year ends Oregon for the average thru-hiker. This year because of the Dollar Fire on Mount Hood, we were rerouted to the other side of the mountains and missed it. Chilidog and I have hiked it before, but we were in the area, so we decided to get some exercise - well, more than forty minutes of road running at least.

A few observations:
1. We were sore at the end. Strange, it was only 13.5 flat miles.
2. There were so many people, and we knew none of them, and most of them passed by without saying hello unless I said hello first. While hiking the PCT, we always said at least hello to every passerby, and most day hikers would ask us what we were doing. I miss that. Yesterday, in truth, we were just day hikers like everyone else. Strange.
3. We still felt like the trail was our home, more than the rest of the day hikers. Partly, when we said hi, we felt a little bit like we were welcoming them to our home, even though we don't live on the PCT anymore. We just felt like we belonged there, more than they did.

Anyway, I am enjoying hot tea every morning, seeing old friends, watching movies and sitting on the couch, going inside when it's raining, and generally not having a care in the world. It's nice to know we don't really have to go back to the other life for another couple of months.

Monday, October 3, 2011


Today, at our friends Amanda and Shawn's house in Entiat, WA, I'm doing a little bit of work on the blog to reorganize it. Now there are labels on a lot of the dates, so that readers can find days where we spent time in Tehachapi or crossed Mather Pass, for example. 

I'm also in what I can tell will be a long process to upload a picture or three to every blog post. I'm doing as much as I can handle at a time. 

Surprisingly, I'm feeling some withdrawal from posting a blog post every day. I've gone through every day thinking about what I'm going to put in the blog, and now I still do that, but then I realize I'm not going to post anything. 

Still feels a little like a long zero. 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

September 30 - Canada Border

Daily: 12
Total: 2663

Woke up and walked with Roo and Marmot to the Monument. Seemed like it took forever, mostly because the anticipation was so high. When we got within a tenth of a mile or so, we heard loud voices, which turned out to be Bubs, Boots and Pepe! They had gotten there the night before but the light hadn't been good for pictures. Hooray! We were glad they were there. It felt fitting.

The Canadian border is cold. It's like the sun never shines there. So we took pictures and drank hot chocolate and whiskey and signed the register and then headed to Manning Park. The trail there close to the border seemed like it had given up. There were wooden bridges that had rotted out and holes in the trail. Oh well.

We got to Manning Park and didn't know how we were getting back to the States. We could stay overnight and take a series of buses which would eventually cost us hundreds of dollars... but Eurotrash and Lafawnduh had a ride and they let us stuff into the 8 passenger suburban with Topsy Turvy and Data Muffin. Awesome!

Eventually after happy hour in Seattle we said goodbye and made our way over to Marmot and Roo's apartment in Queen Anne. So that's where we're staying until we figure out what to do next.

Here are some plans: stay with these guys for a couple of days, then our friends in Entiat, then friends in the Gorge, then fly home to Texas because my parents said they'd pay for it - yay - then in the next couple of weeks, fly to Australia and work on an organic farm for a month or so.

In the next few days, I'm going to try to upload pictures and organize the blog by location, so people who want to start at the beginning can, or people who want to read about, say, Mammoth, can. Then, while we're in Australia, I have to keep a daily journal for the program we're doing, so I will probably blog daily again. Hopefully it will be better written since I will have more time! So stay tuned if you want! I'll probably post again about how we're doing with the whole transition experience.

But right now, breakfast is calling.